DOYLESTOWN, PA.- Bruce Katsiff, Director/CEO of the James A. Michener Art Museum today announces that the Museum's New Hope satellite will permanently close in February 2009. Reacting to a multiplicity of factors including low attendance and revenue at the New Hope location and shifting tourism trends, the Board of Trustees voted to vacate the 5,000 square-foot site after five years at 500 Union Square Drive.
"Although we downsize from two facilities to one, we look forward to entering a new phase of the Museum's history as construction begins on our $10 million Doylestown expansion," states Katsiff. "Five years ago, we opened the New Hope satellite for additional gallery space to reach wider audiences and mount more traveling exhibitions, as well as organize exhibits of historic and contemporary Bucks County artists. The new gallery, storage space and curatorial wing in Doylestown as well as a new education complex, children's art gallery and a premiere special events space will ensure our ability to serve as a valuable cultural resource to the public and continue our mission for generations to come."
Molli Conti, President of the Board of Trustees for the Museum adds, "The Board is acting in order to guarantee the continued financial stability of the Museum. Despite aggressive and creative marketing efforts, the Museum's New Hope attendance has not reached the anticipated goals needed to effectively operate a financially independent second location. We are very grateful to the New Hope community, the New Hope Campaign donors and our Museum membership for their support of this endeavorand we hope they understand that this decision was not taken lightly. The Museum also recognizes George E. Michael & Co., Inc., Union Square management, for invaluable assistance in developing and maintaining the New Hope satellite."
The Museum's annual attendance in New Hope peaked at 23,400 in 2004 and has averaged out at approximately 17,000; projected attendance for 2008 is under 15,000. The main Doylestown location receives an average of 110,000 visits per year. The satellite has not significantly enhanced the effectiveness of the Museum's outreach initiatives in building new audiences. Overall, Michener Art Museum attendance is second only to the Philadelphia Museum of Art among art museums in the Southeastern Pennsylvania region.
Since its opening in November 2003, the Michener Art Museum in New Hope has presented 15 changing exhibitions, including major scholarly projects on such important historic Bucks County painters as Edward Redfield, Charles Rosen and Harry Leith-Ross, as well as several exhibitions featuring contemporary Bucks County artists including a solo exhibit on woodworker Robert Whitley and a selection of the work of famed illustrator Charles Hargens. The New Hope satellite has also mounted a diverse and lively series of exhibitions dealing with many different facets of American art, including Judith Leiber handbags, film posters, Norman Rockwell, a survey of American quilts and classic photographs of musicians from Gershwin to Gillespie.
Art and the River, an exhibition of over 50 historic and contemporary paintings, drawings and photographs inspired by Bucks County's iconic waterways, is on view through October 5, 2008. The final exhibition at the New Hope location features the work of Bucks County photographer Claus Mroczynski, and will be on view from October 17, 2008 through February 1, 2009.
The James A. Michener Art Museum celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2008 through 2009. The mission of the Museum is to collect, preserve, interpret and exhibit art of the Bucks County region as well as American sculpture; to present changing exhibitions that offer a broad range of artistic expressions; to offer a diverse program of educational activities; and to educate the community about Bucks County artists of all creative disciplines. The Museum organizes 18 to 20 annual exhibitions including traveling exhibits that engage visitors with the entire spectrum of art. Classes, lectures, concerts and films develop a lifelong involvement with the arts. Educational activities serve more than 14,000 children annually. The Museum now has over 12,000 members, a strong demonstration of support and commitment to maintain the arts in our community.